NPR

Saving The Story Of Grits, A Dish Born Of Poverty Now On Fine-Dining Menus

Interest in grits is rising because of heirloom corn varieties and the backing of master chefs. But the Southern staple has deep roots that wind through economics, race, politics — and nostalgia.
A bowl of creamy cheese grits. Food writer Erin Byers Murray hopes that exploring the story of grits will help spur more discussion about how food shapes our culture, as humble ingredients are elevated into expensive dishes even as we come to terms with long-lost, or ignored, origin stories that deserve recognition. Source: Lauri Patterson

Like many food writers, Erin Byers Murray enjoys taking a deep dive into learning the history and nuances of specific ingredients. For her first book, Shucked, Murray chronicled the year that she spent working on a New England oyster farm; her second book, Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through The South, however, led her on an unexpected cultural journey about the simplest of ingredients: ground corn.

"I was used to knowing grits only as something that came in a box from mass producers," Murray says. "I didn't really grow up eating them, so

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